Đỗ Hoàng, East Sea Institute

The Year in Retrospect

In 2023, the South China Sea witnessed new developments on the ground, as well as in political – legal – informational domain.

On the ground, the so-called "grey zone" activities[1] were more commonly observed. Most notably, Chinese Coast Guard ships repeatedly collided with Philippine ships near the Second Thomas Shoal (Spratly Islands). According to the Philippines, the Chinese ships flashed military-grade lasers,[2] crossed the bow of the Philippine vessels,[3] fired water cannons[4] and conducted “dangerous blocking maneuvers” (October 22) and so on[5]. In addition, Chinese Coast Guard ships have also taken assertive actions against Vietnam, reportedly "blocking" Vietnamese Coast Guard ships many times.[6]

Second, China also increased the activities of survey and research vessels in the waters of other coastal states along the South China Sea, sometimes escorted by fishing and Coast Guard vessels. Notable incidents included: Chinese research vessel Jia Geng[7] in the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in March-April 2023, returning in May 2023; the Haiyang Dizhi 4 in March 2023 and Xiang Yang Hong 10 in May 2023 in Vietnam's EEZ;[8] Haiyang Dizhi 8 ship at the Luconia Shoal on Malaysia's continental shelf since June 2023 (once said to have come close to the oil rig operated by Malaysia by just over 3 nautical miles[9]).

Third, the number of Chinese fishing vessels skyrocketed near some features in the Spratly Islands. This number at Iroquois Reef (south of Reed Bank) increased from 10 vessels (February 2023) to 48 vessels (late June 2023)[10]. From August 9 to September 11, the Philippines announced the discovery of 33 militia vessels at Iroquois Reef and 15 at the Sabina Reef. This force also regularly operated in Vietnam's EEZ. Chinese fishing vessels regularly appeared in the Southern area of the South China Sea in large numbers since February 2023[11] and did not retur to port during the fishing ban period. Many fishing vessels did not fly state flags and operated close to Vietnam’s coastline for a long time. However, the activities did not cause any collision and might have been symbolic.

Besides such "grey zone" activities, military activities, especially deterrence activities, also tended to increase. According to incomplete statistics, China conducted at least 86 military exercises in the South China Sea as of November 2023, at a higher frequency compared to the previous years (96 exercises in 2022 and 58 excersises in 2021).[12] Typical deterrence activities included the drills involving Shandong aircraft carrier, Type 055 destroyers and J-10 fighters (September),[13] or the anti-submarine exercises with more than 12 Y-8 patrol aircraft (August). In addition, China also maintained air exercises in the South China Sea, publicly announcing at least seven drills in the first six months of 2023 (one more than the same period in 2022) with activities such as day–and-night flight training, combat, reconnaissance, and aerial combat.

Regarding the US, the number of publicly-announced freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) was five, equal to that of 2021 and 2022 but less than 2020 (10 operations). However, the US's deterrence was still believed to be intact because: (i) The US significantly increased the number of exercises with allies and partners in the region (including in the South China Sea), with at least 129 drills, 49 more than in 2022 and 2021;[15] (ii) The US was given new access to the Balabac air base of the Philippines (close to the Spratly Islands) - one of four new bases under the enhanced Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the Philippines;[16] (iii) US Coast Guard presence in the region was continuously increasing, which can provide military support. In 2023 alone, the US Coast Guard held a trilateral exercise with the Philippines and Japan for the first time,[17] conducted CARAT with Brunei,[18] and planned joint patrols with the Philippines in the South China Sea.[19]

ASEAN and other middle powers also promoted similar activities in the South China Sea or in its adjacent waters: ASEAN conducted an exercise with India for the first time (May 2-8)[20] and separate exercises between member countries (September 19-23), all in the South China Sea; Japan participated in the Salaknib exercise between the US and the Philippines for the first time as an observer (March 6);[21] Other middle powers participated in at least 10 exercises in the South China Sea in the last 6 months of 2023,[22] including the Australia-Japan Trident exercise (June 24-25),[23] Australia-Philippines' exercise “Alon 2023”,[24] or “Noble Caribou” involving the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand (October 23)and so on.[25]

In political domain, non-claimant countries responded quickly after the Philippines announced some incidents with China. The US released its support statement for the Philippines after clashes between Chinese and Philippine ships near Second Thomas Shoal on August 5,[26] October 25[27] (by President Biden himself), and November 10.[28] US statements emphasize that the US will protect Philippines personnel and ships against any armed attack in the South China Sea (as shown by the statements of the Department of Defense[29] - Department of State[30] and the Bilateral Defense Guidelines released on the occasion of  Philippines President’s state visit to the United States in May 2023)[31] which imply a commitment to protect the BRP Sierra Madre that the Philippines "scuttled" at Second Thomas Shoal. Those statements were released quickly, at many levels, demonstrating US clearer commitment. US allies and partners such as the UK, Australia, Japan, Canada, Germany, and New Zealand[32] also directly expressed concern about China's actions while at the same time affirming the value of the 2016 Arbitration Ruling.

However, international response to other incidents between China and other Southeast Asian countries has been somewhat slower and sparser. For example, the US officially responded to the Xiang Yang Hong 10 incident[33] in Vietnam’s EEZ through a statement at a track 1.5 forum 1 month after the incident happened (US Assistant Secretary of State Kritenbrink criticized Chinese survey ship, Navy and militia at the CSIS’ RoK-US Strategic Forum).[34] This difference could be attributed to a number of factors: (i) The Philippines publicized their incidents more strongly and frequently than the other Southeast Asian countries; (ii) The Philippines is an ally of the US, and the US was usually the most vocal one that kick-started the series of reaction; (iii) incidents in the EEZs of Malaysia and Vietnam might have been considered as not as serious as the Philippine ones.

The trend of linking the South China Sea issue with the rules-based order of the US and its allies and partners also continued. US officials mentioned the South China Sea along with the rule of law in a series of unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral statements, including the Joint Statement between US President Biden and Vietnam’s Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (September 10),[35] The joint high-level statement between the US - Japan – Korea (August 18),[36] the US – Australia (October 25)[37] or the statement of US Vice President Harris at the US - Japan - Philippines summit (September 6).[38]

Middle powers continue to issue documents affirming the rule of law in the region, mentioning the South China Sea, typically Korea's Indo-Pacific Strategy[39] or Japan’s New Plan for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.[40] The G7 joint statement (April 2023) was the first time G7 leaders directly criticized China's militarization and excessive claims in the South China Sea.[41] A series of "2+2" or bilateral - multilateral statements between Japan, Australia, India and the EU also included similar content and placed the South China Sea in the context of UNCLOS and the 2016 Ruling.[42]

ASEAN member states also made many efforts to assert ASEAN centrality through the South China Sea issue, linking the South China Sea issue with regional maritime security. During Indonesia's Chairmanship year, the Chairman's Statement of the 42nd ASEAN Summit restored all content on the South China Sea, UNCLOS 1982 and international rule of law that was omitted in a similar Statement in 2022.[43] ASEAN also announced the ASEAN Maritime Outlook (AMO) (August 1) for the first time,[44] which synthesized all issues related to the sea so far in ASEAN-centered mechanisms, including the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and traditional and non-traditional security issues in the South China Sea.[45]

Intense great power competition led to new “minilateral” groups related to the South China Sea. For example, some believed that a new quadrilateral cooperation had been formed among the US, Japan, Australia, and the  Philippines (or "Quad 2.0") even though there was no official institution nor confirmation from those countries themselves.[46] Philippine officials touched on the possibility that four countries may conduct joint patrols in the South China Sea in the near future[47]. Other than that, there were other new possible groupings: (i) Secretary of States of the US, Philippines, and Japan met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, criticizing China's behavior near Second Thomas Shoal;[48] (ii) The US, Philippines and Australia held joint exercises in the Philippines during the visit of Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles to the Philippines;[49] (iii) The US - Japan - Philippines also left open the possibility of a maritime cooperation with Canada and New Zealand and so on.

Meanwhile, China stepped up its diplomatic activities with South China Sea coastal states to show its goodwill. China maintained its high-level visits to the Philippines (January 2023), Indonesia (February 2023), and Malaysia (March 2023), and also received senior Vietnamese leaders (June 2023).[50] Notably, in December 2023, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid an official visit to Vietnam and the two sides issued Vietnam – China Joint Statement, stating that "the two sides agree to continue to comprehensively and effectively implement the “Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea” (DOC) on the basis of consultations and consensus, work to early reach a substantive and efficient “Code of Conduct in the South China Sea” (COC) in accordance with international law, including the UNCLOS 1982. Implementing the mechanisms of senior official meetings (SOM) and the ASEAN-China Joint Working Group meetings on the implementation of the “Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea” (DOC); well controlling differences at sea, avoiding acts that complicate the situation and expand disputes, and jointly maintaining stability at sea."[51]

China also tried to foster maritime cooperation through activities such as the 4th Meeting of the Joint Commission on China - Indonesia Cooperation, negotiations on the possibility of joint oil and gas exploitation between China and the Philippines or proposing joint exploitation with Malaysia, etc. At the Boao Forum for Asia (March 2023), Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Nong Dung affirmed that China and ASEAN had pioneered to promote a "two-channel" approach in the South China Sea, negotiating to resolve disputes while maintaining peace and stability, etc.

On the legal front, there were many new "grey zone" occurences. China continues to introduce many internal laws to promote its presence in the South China Sea. For example, in February 2023, the Chinese Ministry of Natural Resources issued the "Specifications for the Content Representation of Public Maps", stipulating that all public maps must draw the southernmost tip of the territory extending to James Shoal, using land border symbol to draw a dashed line (U-shaped line) and fully draw all the islands in the South China Sea. In March 2023, China announced a list of 33 scientific survey-research routes at sea, including some routes that cut through the EEZs of coastal states in the South and East China Seas. In June 2023, China passed the Foreign Relations Law, including regulations allowing the implementation and application of international Treaties and Agreements in a way that does not harm national sovereignty and security.[52] In August 2023, China announced the "Standard Map 2023”, which reiterates its claims in the South China Sea, upgraded the "Nine-dash line" to a "10-dash line" and so on.[53] China also publicly rejected Vietnam's EEZ for the first time, stating that Chinese ships did not enter other countries' EEZs in the Xiang Yang Hong 10 incident.[54]

Moreover, Southeast Asian countries made many attempts to assert their sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction in the South China Sea. The Philippines made the most unilateral efforts:[55] The Supreme Court of the Philippines declared the 2005 Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) between China, the Philippines and Vietnam “unconstitutional” and “void”[56]; the Philippine Senate passed a Resolution condemning China for harassing fishermen and violating Philippine waters[57]; the Philippine Secretary of Justice announced plan to file a lawsuit against China for destroying the environment around Iroquois Reef and Sabina Reef, etc.[58]

Southeast Asian countries and China also accelerated negotiations for the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), making progress in the process but mainly symbolic. On July 14, the ASEAN and China adopted Guidelines for Accelerating the Early Conclusion of an Effective and Substantive COC. China welcomed the successful completion of the second reading and is ready to accelerate the process.[59] On August 22, the 40th meeting of the Joint Working Group on the Implementation of COC (JWG-DOC) took place in Manila. On October 26, at the 21st ASEAN-China Senior Officials Meeting on the Implementation of the DOC (SOM-DOC), the two sides announced the official launch of the third reading to sign the COC soon.[60] However, these results were not substantive: the parties had not reached consensus on many issues related to the legal nature and scope of the COC;[61] many sources said that the Philippines was not satisfied with the progress of the COC and wanted to promote a separate agreement with other ASEAN claimants.[62]

Regarding information - propaganda, this is also an area with many "grey " developments. Regarding the incidents at Second Thomas Shoal, the Philippines regularly publicized China's activities, sending news agencies to the ground. After the incident of a Chinese Coast Guard ship flashing laser at Philippine vessels in the Spratly Islands (February 2023), the Philippine Coast Guard released photos of Chinese warships, Coast Guard and militia vessels in the Spratly Islands. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs also quickly issued a statement protesting China's explanation of the incident.[63] In contrast, the Chinese side dismissed information from the Philippines, presenting photographic evidence and asserting China's sovereignty over this area.

Regarding developments in the air, the US and China also promoted competing narratives. At the end of February, the US invited a number of correspondents from major US newspapers in Asia[64] to board a US aircraft operating in the South China Sea to record the Chinese aircraft’s close approach. On October 17, 2023, the US Department of Defense (DoD) released dozens of images and videos of "dangerous" maneuvers Chinese aircraft conducted against the US and allies in the South and East China Seas in 2022 and 2023,[65] claiming the number of incidents reached nearly 300. On October 19, the US DoD released the 2023 Report on the Military and Security Developments Involving China,[66] confirming that China had carried out 180 "risky" intercepts against the US in the past two years. Previously, the US Department of State also issued a Report on China's measures to reshape the global information environment,[67] affirming China's ability to influence international media. On the contrary, Chinese narratives often asserted that tensions stemmed from provocative behaviors by the US.[68]

Expectations for 2024

The South China Sea situation will possibly continue to be determined by the moves of China and the US, affected by the internal needs and balance of power between the two countries, placed in the context of great power competition in the region.

Therefore, we can consider the following factors to forecast for the situation in 2024: (i) Chinese and US domestic politics from which arise the needs related to the South China Sea; (ii) the balance of power between the US and China, thereby affecting the capability to act in the region and the South China Sea; (iii) the policies the two countries are implementing in the region, in relation to the attitudes of ASEAN member countries.

Regarding domestic politics, US and Chinese political dynamics in 2024 are likely to push both countries to pursue further competition. In China, domestic political and economic shifts may continue to push China to be more assertive in the South China Sea. Politically, the 20th National Congress Report has shown China’s increasing determination to implement the “sea power nation” strategy, which stresses on the South China Sea issue in the context of the increasingly prioritized "security" in China's overall foreign policy[69] (in the period 2020-2050, Chinese Navy aims to control beyond the first and second island chains). Regarding economy, China still has a large demand for energy. China is currently exploiting energy mostly in the North of the South China Sea, and will likely move to the South in the coming years. In addition, the need to promote post-Covid-19 development and respond to the US' "de-risking" strategy may push China to step up its exploitation of the South China Sea.

On the US side, the bipartisan consensus on competition with China remains solid. In the legislative branch, the number of documents on China passed by Congress is increasing (the number of bills on competition with China increased 6 times from 2013 to 2021).[70] Gallup's survey (February 2023)  also showed that the number of Americans having a positive attitude towards China has dropped to 15% - the lowest level in the history of this survey since 1979.[71] In the executive branch, although the Biden administration has taken actions to alleviate tensions with China in 2023, Democrats still affirm their long-term vision that China is the most dangerous challenge to the US. Therefore, the White House will probably maintain this competing orientation regardless of the 2024 election result.

Regarding the balance of power, the gap between the US and China continues to be narrowed. As for economy, many Western forecasts say that China is facing internal problems such as high local debt and declined tax revenue,[72] a collapsing real estate market,[73] declining population, and China’s semiconductor industry facing many difficulties (China needs international connections but is isolated by the US), thus growth also declines, etc. However, these opinions do not comprehensively reflect the situation: China's growth declined but it was not too severe, GDP in general still increased and reached 4-5%/year;[74] China has transformed itself and achieved many achievements in electronics - telecommunications technology or green energy;[75] third parties such as ASEAN or the EU can help China reduce the pressure of "economic decoupling" from the US.[76]

Meanwhile, the US is facing many difficulties: new technology makes the economic inequality even more obvious; US middle class is decreasing, now making up only 50% of the population while this number in China has increased from 500 million to 800 million in just a few years.[77] Therefore, It is still feasible that China may become the world's largest economy before 2030 as many people forecast. From there, China is capable of investing more resources in maritime forces and stimulating economic cooperation with Southeast Asian countries to maintain its supremacy in the South China Sea, while US capacity might be more limited.

Regarding maritime capacity, forecasts show that China will surpass the US in a number of criteria, gaining the upper hand in the South China Sea: In 2023, The US DoD acknowledges that the number of Chinese warships has surpassed that of the US, predicting that this number would reach 435 before 2030[78] (up from the 2021 prediction of 425 warships);[79] The US also states that China has the world's largest Coast Guard fleet and a large "sizeable" maritime militia,[80] especially in the near-seas region. China is also pursuing new tactics such as using civilian ferries or commercial ships to support landing capacity of amphibious ships when needed.[81] In April 2023, the Chinese military announced revised regulations on "wartime recruitment" for the first time to improve combat readiness.

On the contrary, it is still widely believed that the US still has more advantages in the South China Sea because it has larger ships (Chinese fleet is only half the total tonnage of the US Navy), more combat experience, more submarines and a wider network of allies and partners.[82] The US DoD and Congress have acknowledged their weaknesses[83] and are pushing the US to increase defense investment. Actual defense spending in 2023[84] and  the proposed budget for 2024[85] also indicate this trend. Although the balance of power between the US and China is still a matter of debate, there is no denying that China's maritime capabilities are increasing.

Regarding regional policy, in 2024, China and the US are likely to continue pursuing policies announced in 2022-2023 with many contents related to the South China Sea both directly and indirectly. The Biden administration will likely continue to seek dialogue with China on issues such as energy, food, climate, drugs, etc. However, it will have to pursue the Indo-Pacific Strategy and National Security Strategy, especially when the election is happening.

In 2023, China passed a series of documents to make room for stronger regional and global competition. Typically, the new Foreign Relations Law (June 28) stipulates that “State institutions, armed forces, political parties, people’s organizations, enterprises, social organizations as well as citizens have the responsibility and obligation to safeguard national sovereignty, security, dignity, honor, and interests in the course of diplomatic exchanges and cooperation”. China expedites implementation of the Global Development, Security, and Civilization Initiatives. On September 26, China's State Council Information Office released a white paper on Global Common Destiny, setting out the vision of a global community with new approaches towards international relations.[86] In addition, China tends to expand its engagement with developing countries, seek the role of conflict mediator or provider of public goods in international conflicts, moving towards a multipolar order or establishing a new order.[87]

Regarding other factors, the attitudes of ASEAN member states and other global flashpoints can have impacts on the behavior of China and the US in the South China Sea. Regarding ASEAN, ASEAN claimants are making certain shifts in their South China Sea policies: the Philippines has upgraded its military cooperation with the US, increasingly exposed China's actions, and become bolder to join three-way or four-way initiatives on maritime security; Malaysia and Indonesia clearly express their "tough" stance in protecting sovereignty, become stronger in diplomatic fights, and step up protest activities on the ground and so on. This trend is likely to continue in 2024 to hinder China in the South China Sea.

Regarding related flashpoints, although the US still affirms that it will not reduce its commitment to the region because of crises in the Middle East or Ukraine, this may not be the case in reality. It is reported that the US Navy has sent 25-30% of its forces to the fleet in the Middle East after the Israel-Hamas tension broke out.[88] These flashpoints will likely distract US resources and political attention, thereby affecting its commitment to the South China Sea. On the contrary, it is also possible that because of these flashpoints, the US will strengthen its armed forces and deterrent capabilities in the region, closely tying the South China Sea issue to the rules-based order.

Specific Forecast

Based on the abovementioned analysis, the South China Sea situation in 2024 may develop in the following directions:

  • China is still the main factor determining the "heat" of the situation, and "grey zone" activities are still favored by this country;
  • China and the US continue to view the South China Sea as an arena of great power competition, thus increasing military and paramilitary deterrence but not directly confronting each other to avoid harming regional stability that are beneficial to both;
  • US allies and partners will show more interests in the South China Sea, possibly through words rather than actions;
  • ASEAN continues to balance between great powers but will play a larger security role.

On the ground, China will likely behave more assertively in areas such as Second Thomas Shoal, Vanguard Bank, and Luconia Shoals, etc. China will foster the use of variegated "grey zone" activities such as seismic surveys, scientific research, submarine cable laying, and new marine technologies testing. China could also increase the role of militia, targeting unoccupied features. In terms of scope, China will expand its presence at sea, undersea, and in the air. Therefore, an incident like the ones in Second Thomas Shoal in 2023 is likely to happen. However, generally speaking, China will remain restrained in involvement of the Navy, prioritizing the Coast Guard in handling incidents to maintain the momentum of COC negotiations, not create an excuse for the US to become involved more deeply in the South China Sea and maintain a stable environment for China's own development.

The US will maintain FONOP but deploy operations in a more "integrated" way as stated in its documents, sharing more responsibilities with allies and partners, especially through training, joint exercise, or joint patrol in the South China Sea. The US could show stronger commitment to Southeast Asia by helping the Philippines repair the BRP Sierra Madre or deploying personnel and equipment to new military bases, supporting countries to repair submarine cables and enhance “maritime domain awareness” (MDA), etc.

Southeast Asian countries will participate in activities led by the US and its allies to build maritime capacity while joining military exercises with China and taking bolder steps with intra-bloc exercises. The Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia will probably take stronger actions on the ground against the backdrop of new "grey zone" developments.

In political domains, China will continue to oppose the presence of the US and its allies in the South China Sea, promote “neighboring diplomacy” with ASEAN, and pursue joint exploitation proposals but can put pressure on ASEAN to expedite the conclusion of the COC in a direction that is beneficial to itself. In addition, China will continue to implement the internal laws announced in 2022 - 2023, preparing for the possibility of new lawsuits from the Philippines, pursuing claims under "historic rights" or customary practices towards offshore islands. As for the BBNJ, China will impede the establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the South China Sea, especially in the U-shaped line, thereby denying the existence of high seas here.

The US can reduce its statements mentioning the South China Sea but will push other middle powers to pursue this issue in its new groups or in multilateral forums. The US can also seek to promote new force alignment related to the South China Sea such as groups focusing on submarine cables, marine minerals, deep sea mining, offshore energy, etc. The US will also support ASEAN coastal states to pursue their own legal and political consensus, possibly through a separate agreement with the COC or a new lawsuit like the plan the Philippines has revealed recently. ASEAN, under pressure from both sides, can pursue two options at the same time: continuing the COC and creating conditions for coastal states to find their own space for cooperation while pursuing delimitation negotiations with each other.

On informational front, China is likely to continue to promote its claims internationally through Track 1.5 and Track 2, driving public opinion in the direction that the US and its new allies are the cause of instability in the South China Sea. China may have a more proactive approach toward communications, "learning" from the US tactics: being willing to release photo and video evidence on the ground or using satellite data and open sources to refute opposing arguments.

The US and its allies will continue to invest in MDA initiatives, which may seek to combine separate initiatives such as Quad's Indo Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA), EU's Critical Maritime Routes (CRIMARIO), India's Indo Pacific Oceans Initiative’s, and Canada’s Dark Vessel Detection program to gain support from ASEAN.[89] Propaganda of the US and allies aimed at China can utilize new framing related to non-traditional security (marine environment, blue economy or clean energy exploitation)./.

The article represents the author's personal perspectives. The author would like to thank his colleagues at the East Sea Institute for contributing to this piece.


[1] Below the threshold of conflict; mostly adopted by the US and its partners.

[2] “PH Protests CN Coast Guard Use of Military-Grade Laser, Dangerous Maneuvers Against PCG Near Ayungin”, accessed on 8/12/2023,

[3] VnExpress, “Hải cảnh Trung Quốc bị tố cắt mặt tàu công vụ Philippines”,, accessed on 8/12/2023,

[4] “Philippines Accuses China Coast Guard of Firing Water Cannon at Its Boats”, France 24, accessed on 6/8/2023,

[5] VnExpress, “Philippines công bố video vụ va chạm với tàu Trung Quốc ở Biển Đông”,, accessed on 8/12/2023,

[6] Ray Powell [@GordianKnotRay], “11 May between 12:45-1:30pm Local Time, While #China’s Coast Guard and Maritime Militia Moved Eastward through #Vietnam’s Oil & Gas Fields in the #SouthChinaSea, China Coast Guard Vessel 4303 Twice Abruptly Cut off Vietnam Coast Guard Ship CSB 7011. Hat Tip to @SCS_news For…”, Tweet, Twitter, 11/5/2023,

[7] Ray Powell [@GordianKnotRay], “The Chinese Research Vessel Jia Geng Seems to Have Completed Its Most Recent Survey of Waters in & near the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone, Where It’s Been a Frequent Visitor the Past 2 Years. Its Activities in Philippine Waters Caused a Brief Diplomatic Row in Early 2021. Https://T.Co/zoPNMVga8Y”, Tweet, Twitter, 24/3/2023,

[8] “Việt Nam đang theo dõi sát tàu Hướng Dương Hồng 10 của Trung Quốc”, VOV.VN, 1/6/2023,

[9] Duan Dang [@duandang], “China’s Haiyang Dizhi 8 Survey Vessel Has Entered the Exclusive Economic Zone of Malaysia in the South China Sea. It Appears That the Royal Malaysian Navy’s Auxiliary Ship KA Bunga Mas Lima Is Heading to the Area. Https://T.Co/pD2hqwUwol”, Tweet, Twitter, 21/6/2023,

[10] Statistics by China research group, South China Sea Institute (Nhật Linh, Hoàng Lan và Ngọc Quyên).

[11] “Hải Dương Địa Chất 4 hoạt động trongand so on. - Dự án Đại Sự Ký Biển Đông | Facebook”, accessed on 8/12/2023,

[12] Statistics by China research group, South China Sea Institute

[13] ONLINE TUOI TRE, “Trung Quốc đưa tàu sân bay Sơn Đông ra Thái Bình Dương tập trận?”, TUOI TRE ONLINE, 13/9/2023,

[14] ONLINE TUOI TRE, “Trung Quốc tuyên bố hoàn thành tập trận chống ngầm ở Biển Đông”, TUOI TRE ONLINE, 31/8/2023,

[15] Statistics by The US research group, South China Sea Institute (Triệu Khánh, Đỗ Ngân và Việt Hà).

[16] “Philippines, U.S. Announce Locations of Four New EDCA Sites”, U.S. Department of Defense, truy cập 8/122023,

[17] “US, Japanese, Philippine Coast Guard Ships Stage Law Enforcement Drills near South China Sea”, AP News, 6/6/2023,


[19] “Philippines, U.S. Discuss Joint Coast Guard Patrols in South China Sea”, Reuters, 20/2/2023, sec World,


[21] Frances Mangosing, “Japan to Join Salaknib Drills between PH, US Armies”,, 6/3/2023,

[22] Statistics by Middle Powers reseach group, South China Sea Institute (Đinh Tuấn Anh, Lan Hương & Minh Châu).

[23] “自衛艦隊について”, truy cập 8/122023,

[24] Aaron-Matthew Lariosa, “Australian Amphib HMAS Canberra in the Philippines for Drills Amidst South China Sea Tensions”, USNI News (blog), 21/8/2023,

[25]“自衛艦隊について”, truy cập 8/12/2023,

[26] “U.S. Support for the Philippines in the South China Sea”, United States Department of State (blog), truy cập 8/12/2023,

[27] “South China Sea: Biden Says US Will Defend the Philippines If China Attacks”, BBC News, 26/10/2023, sec Asia,

[28] “U.S. Support for the Philippines in the South China Sea”, United States Department of State (blog), truy cập 8/122023,

[29] “US Defense Chief Affirms MDT Commitment to PH vs. Attacks”, truy cập 8/12/2023,

[30] “U.S. Support for the Philippines in the South China Sea”, United States Department of State (blog), truy cập 8/12/2023,

[31] “FACT SHEET: U.S.-Philippines Bilateral Defense Guidelines”, U.S. Department of Defense, truy cập 8/12/2023,

[32] Ghio Ong Cayabyab Marc Jayson, “Allies back Philippines after new water cannon attack by China”,, truy cập 8/12/2023,

[33] “Tàu Hướng Dương Hồng 10 của Trung Quốc vi phạm vùng biển Việt Nam: Ý đồ và Hậu quả quốc tế”, truy cập 8/12/2023,

[34] Daniel J. Kritenbrink, “Keynote Address by Daniel J. Kritenbrink at ROK-U.S. Strategic Forum 2022”, 6/6/2022,

[35], “tuyên bố chung Việt Nam – Mỹ về nâng cấp quan hệ lên đối tác chiến lược toàn diện”,, 11/9/2023,

[36] The White House, “The Spirit of Camp David: Joint Statement of Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the United States”, The White House, 18/82023,

[37] The White House, “United States-Australia Joint Leaders’ StatementBuilding an Innovation Alliance”, The White House, 25/10/2023,

[38] The White House, “Readout of Vice President Harris’s Trilateral Meeting with President Marcos of the Philippines and Prime Minister Kishida of Japan”, The White House, 8/9/2023,

[39] “Strategy for a Free, Peaceful, and Prosperous Indo-Pacific Region”, Government of the Republic of Korea, Tháng 12/2022,

[40] New Plan for a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)” (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2023),

[41] The White House, “G7 Hiroshima Leaders’ Communiqué”, The White House, 20/5/2023,

[42] U. S. Mission Japan, “Joint Statement of the Security Consultative Committee (2+2)”, U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Japan, 11/1/2023,; “Joint Statement of the Quad Ministerial Meeting in New Delhi”, United States Department of State (blog), truy cập 8/12/2023,;; “Joint Statement on the U.S.-Japan-Republic of Korea Trilateral Ministerial Meeting”, United States Department of State (blog), truy cập 8/12/2023,

[43] Bản tin 6 tháng đầu năm 2023, Viện Biển Đông.

[44] ASEAN Maritime Outlook (ASEAN, 2023),

[45] Synthesis by Southeast Asia research group, South China Sea Institute (Phạm Duy Thực).

[46] “Digital Press Briefing with Daniel J. Kritenbrink, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs”, United States Department of State (blog), truy cập 8/12/2023,

[47] Karen Lema, “Japan and Australia May Conduct South China Sea Patrols with U.S. and Philippines, Ambassador Says”, The Japan Times, 28/2/2023,

[48] “Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Kamikawa And Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Manalo”, United States Department of State (blog), truy cập 8/12/2023,

[49] “Australian, US, Filipino Forces Practice Retaking an Island in a Drill along the South China Sea”, AP News, 25/8/2023,

[50] “Thủ tướng Phạm Minh Chính hội kiến Tổng Bí thư, Chủ tịch Trung Quốc Tập Cận Bình”, VOV.VN, 27/6/2023,

[51] “Tuyên bố chung Việt Nam – Trung Quốc”. Đảng Cộng sản Việt Nam. Ngày 13/12/2023.


[53] “Trung Quốc công bố bản đồ mới 2023 nhằm gây áp lực cho các quốc gia trước các Hội nghị thượng đỉnh quan trọng - Nghiên Cứu Chiến Lược”, 2/9/2023,

[54] ONLINE TUOI TRE, “Việt Nam phản đối vụ Trung Quốc nói tàu Hướng Dương Hồng 10 ‘không đi vào EEZ nước khác’”, TUOI TRE ONLINE, 10/6/2023,

[55] Synthesis by Legal group, East Sea Institue (Lan Hương, Thanh Thảo).

[56] “Philippines Top Court Voids Old South China Sea Energy Deal”, Reuters, 10/1/2023, sec Energy,

[57] Gaea Katreena Cabico, “Senate condemns China’s actions in West Philippine Sea”,, truy cập 8/12/2023,

[58] Franco Jose C. Baroña Tamayo Bernadette E., “PH to File Suit vs China”, The Manila Times, 21/9/2023,

[59] Arlina Arshad và Lim Min Zhang, “China and Asean Agree on Guidelines to Expedite South China Sea Negotiations”, The Straits Times, 13/7/2023,

[60] “The 21st Senior Officials’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea Held in Beijing”, truy cập 8/12/2023,

[61] “9DASHLINE — No Land in Sight: Prospects of a South China Sea Code of Conduct”, 9DASHLINE, 3/8/2023,

[62] ONLINE TUOI TRE, “Philippines muốn có quy tắc ứng xử với Việt Nam và Malaysia ở Biển Đông”, TUOI TRE ONLINE, 20/11/2023,

[63] “‘Minh bạch hóa’ - công cụ mới phục vụ ‘chiến tranh thông tin’ trên Biển Đông”, truy cập 8/12/2023,

[64] Ivan Watson Campisi Emiko Jozuka,Dan, “Chinese Fighter Jet Confronts US Navy Plane with CNN Crew Aboard as Tensions Simmer in the South China Sea”, CNN, 24/2/2023,; Alastair Gale, “Chinese Jet Fighter Shadows U.S. Aircraft Over South China Sea”, Wall Street Journal, 24/2/2023, sec World,

[65] “Department of Defense Releases Declassified Images, Videos of Coercive and Risky PLA Opera”, U.S. Department of Defense, truy cập 8/12/2023,

[66] Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China (US Department of Defense, 2023),

[67] “How the People’s Republic of China Seeks to Reshape the Global Information Environment”, United States Department of State (blog), truy cập 8/12/2023,

[68] 网易, “东海紧张对峙:国际安全的现实考验”, 17/9/2023,

[69] Report by East Sea Institute

[70] Christopher S. Chivvis Miller Hannah, “The Role of Congress in U.S.-China Relations”, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, truy cập 8/12/2023,

[71] Gallup Inc, “Record-Low 15% of Americans View China Favorably”,, 7/3/2023,

[72] “China struggles to spend its way out of economic crisis”, accessed on 8/12/2023,

[73] Laura He, “China’s Economy Will Be Hobbled for Years by the Real Estate Crisis | CNN Business”, CNN, 6/10/2023,

[74] “China Can Reach 5% Growth Rate in 2024, Ex-PBOC Official Says”, Bloomberg.Com, 23/10/2023,

[75] “Has the Chinese Economy Hit the Wall?”, East Asia Forum, 8/10/2023,

[76] Ibid

[77] Discussions with Brookings experts, 2023.

[78] China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress (Congressional Research Service, 2023),

[79] Ibid

[80] Ibid

[81] Ibid

[82] Ibid

[83] “Twelfth Annual South China Sea Conference: Morning Keynote Address by Representative Rob Wittman (R-VA)”, 26/7/2022,

[84] Leo Shane III and Bryant Harris, “Congress Reveals Plan to Increase Defense Budget by 8%”, Defense News, 7/12/2022,

[85] “Pentagon Budget 2024: Congress Backs 3.3% Defence Increase”,, truy cập 8/12/2023,

[86] “Trung Quốc Công Bố Sách Trắng về Quan Hệ Quốc Tế”,, truy cập 8/12/2023,

[87] “China’s leaders will seek to exploit global divisions in 2024”, The Economist, truy cập 8/12/2023,

[88] “Security Nexus Webinar: US-Korea-Japan Trilateral on China’s Maritime Strategy and Allies’ Responses”,  The Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, ngày 31/10/2023,

[89] Hoang Do, “How to Help ASEAN Address South China Sea ‘Gray-zone’ Challenges”, United States Institute of Peace, ngày 25/9/2023,